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Watch the official selections for this year’s If I Had a Trillion Dollars national youth film festival.

Participants will be in Washington, D.C., from April 12-14 for a youth leadership conference, a free public screening of their videos, and a chance to meet with representatives in the federal government.

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AFSC's New Orleans Peace Building and Conflict Transformation Project held its Third Annual Transforming Oppression Fashion Show Saturday on November 26, 2013 at Christian Unity Church. The show included twelve models and performances by seven local youth artist acts. 

Participants attended a workshop where they got a crash course in the definition of oppression and the manifestations thereof. They also did visioning where they imagined translating their experiences w/violence, loss of young lives and lack of employment opportunities into rhetorical images to be displayed on white tees and hoodies for the show.

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The Galkacyo celebration was featured on the Kalsan TV evening news.

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Psychotherapist Geral Blanchard of Des Moines talks about his new book, "Transcending Trauma: Post-Traumatic Growth Following Physical, Sexual, and Emotional Abuse," with Fallon Forum guest host Jon Krieg, Communications Specialist with AFSC's Midwest Region.

Geral can be reached at blanchardgeral@gmail.com.

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Kathleen McQuillen of AFSC Iowa and Katie Huerter of Nebraskans For Peace discuss Middle East peace prospects on the Fallon Forum.

Kathleen and Katie talk about an upcoming Midwest speaking tour by author Josh Ruebner.

Katie's blog can be found here.

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What Would You Do If You Had $1 Trillion? A Group of Seniors at Northwest Academy of Law Say They Would Invest in Education.

ST. LOUIS [February 26, 2014] — A group of students at Northwest Academy of Law have been selected to participate in the fourth annual “If I Had a Trillion Dollars” Film Festival in Washington, D.C. Students were introduced to the federal budget and asked what they would do if they could spend $1 trillion.

“Their answer was not what you might expect from 17 and 18-year-olds,” said Joshua Saleem, who directs AFSC’s Peace Education Project. “They wanted to spend it on their education.”

In their video, entitled “Education is the Key to Our Success,” the students identified physical improvements that could be made to their school building, including newer computers, high school level books in their library, and better gym facilities. They also said they would increase the Pell Grant amount (currently only $5500) so that more young people could afford college without going into debt.

The “If I Had a Trillion Dollars” Youth Film Festival is sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). Young people are directly affected by conversations about state and federal budgets, yet their voices are often ignored. The film festival seeks to change that.

Now that their video has been selected for the Film Festival, students will be fundraising so they can travel to Washington, DC where they will visit Capitol Hill. They hope to make Congress aware of their priorities for the federal budget.

Contacts:
Krista Germann, Social Studies Teacher (618) 954-9979 · krista.germann@slps.org
Joshua Saleem, Peace Education Program Director (314) 324-7442 · jsaleem@afsc.org

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To learn more about the "If I Had a Trillion Dollars" Youth Film Festival, visit www.ihtd.org.

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Peer-to-peer learning is proving to be an effective way to promote nonviolence in New Orleans. Through Peace by Piece, a youth-led program of AFSC’s New Orleans program, interns and community partners train youth in conflict resolution and violence reduction using arts and activism.

“The culture of violence is way too familiar to young people in New Orleans. Workshops and events like the Transforming Oppression Fashion Show and Sampson Park Night out Against Crime bring the community together and provide options for young people keeping them engaged in positive activities,” explains Glenn Sullivan, 2014 Peace by Piece intern.

AFSC’s partners include many organizations and community members working to address crime in New Orleans. The program works in schools and neighborhood programs, and includes activities that empower young people to identify sources and root causes of conflict. Exercises in identity, self-worth, and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s concept of the “Beloved Community” help students understand the viability of nonviolence as a lifestyle. Facilitators use spoken word, skits, songs, and story circles as tools for creating nonviolence.

Peace by Piece interns work with two neighborhood groups, Freedom Street Library and A Desire for Change. Both organizations are working to transform public spaces that support youth development, youth-at-play, and youth safety.

By building relationships, creating options, and having a good time, AFSC is working to create peace in New Orleans, one young person at a time.

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This is how bloated Pentagon spending works. 

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